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Developed by CORU registered kidney (renal) dietitians

Managing Fluid Intake and your Kidney diet

‘Managing fluid intake is often a balancing act when you have kidney disease. Here, the Kidney (Renal) Dietitians give tips to help you with this tricky part of the Kidney (Renal) Diet’

When your kidneys are not working properly, you may not be able to get rid of enough fluid from your body. A build up of fluid can lead to problems such as high blood pressure, swelling of the ankles & shortness of breath. How much fluid you should have each day depends amongst other things on how much kidney function you have left, if you are on dialysis or not, and how much urine you pass.

If you require any changes to your fluid intake (a fluid allowance) as part of your kidney diet, Your Kidney (Renal) Dietitian will have this information and will develop an individualised fluid and kidney diet plan for you.

Tips to help you manage your fluid intake and your kidney diet:

Reduce thirst by reducing salt

  • Avoid adding salt to foods. Salt holds onto fluid in the body and increases thirst. (link to salt information).
  • Use Fresh foods in preference to processed foods to reduce salt intake. About 65 – 70% of the salt we eat comes from processed foods, fast food, canteen and restaurant food (Irish Heart Foundation 2012). Salt increases thirst.

Reduce Volume of fluid

  • Use a small cup/glass and divide out your fluid intake over the day. Keeping a written record of your intake is helpful to keep track of your kidney diet fluid allowance.

Typical household measures to help you add up your fluid intake each day:

A mug = 300mls

A Standard Water Glass = 200mls

A Small cup = 150mls

A Tablespoon = 15mls

A small ice cube = 15ml

  • Foods with high water content include: soup, ice cream, jelly, custard, rice pudding, sauces, and gravy. Cut down or even avoid some of these foods if fluid retention (gain) is a problem.

Avoid a Dry Mouth – keep it Fresh!

  • Keep your mouth feeling fresh by chewing gum, brushing your teeth or rinsing with mouth wash regularly. Discuss your dry mouth with your Kidney (renal) Dietitian as artificial saliva sprays and gels may be suitable for you.
  • Sucking on an ice cube can help relieve thirst whilst using the smallest amount of fluid.  Try freezing some diluted squash in your ice cube tray to add some flavour. If you have Diabetes, use a ‘No Added Sugar’ variety.